As you are probably aware, palm oil can have quite devastating results on the environment and eco-system. The harvesting of this common food ingredient has been responsible for a disastrous amount of deforestation, causing now-endangered animals to lose their habitats or even their lives.

However, palm oil itself isn’t the problem, and, contrary to what many articles will say, it may be worse to go along with the boycott that’s becoming more and more widespread. The oil palm – the tree from which palm oil is collected – is very efficient, yielding up to 10 times more oil than other oilseed crops per hectare, so more oil can be produced on less land. If we stop using palm oil altogether, all we’ll be doing is putting pressure on another crop, which is less efficient, and the problem will never be solved.

What we should be doing instead is becoming more knowledgeable about the palm oil we use, and how our choices can make a difference.

Big Brands and the Asian Market Will Lead the Way

There are two vital players in the rise of sustainable and ethically sourced palm oil, and those are the big-name brands and the Asian market.

With Indonesia and Malaysia being the most prominent palm oil producers across the world, and Asia as a whole being its largest consumer, it’s important this market begins to change the way they view palm oil. It’ll start with the Asian consumers, and filter up to the harvesters, which means that encouraging Asians to purchase sustainable palm oil is vital to reducing its impact on our world.

Concerning big-name brands, it's vital that companies take the lead rather than waiting for consumer demand. If you begin using sustainable palm oil, your customers will follow. If you don’t, or you wait too long, you may find your name tarnished.

Labelling is a Problem

By now, many consumers are aware of the problems with unsustainably sourced palm oil and would choose to shop more ethically. However, the lack of transparency in the supply chains of the food and drink industry can cause problems, with labels not always detailing the exact ingredients of a product and where they’re sourced. To help consumers make ethical decisions, we need to make labelling clearer.

Boost Your Brand by Being More Responsible

Of course, at the end of the day business is business, and while being ethical and sustainable is high on your priority list, you also want to know how it may affect your business – either positively or negatively. In this generation of millennials, and especially Gen-Z, there’s a growing demand for companies with morals. As just one example of the importance of ethical consumerism in your business, one study showed that over 70% of 15-20-year-olds in 2015 would agree to pay more for the peace of mind of knowing that the services and products they’re using are having a positive impact on society and the environment. In short, switching to sustainable palm oil isn’t just right for the planet - it’s good for business, too.

Better Certification

Alongside clearer labelling, better certification by official organisations is needed to make it more transparent to consumers that the palm oil they’re using is sustainable. Some current certifications aren’t strict enough to prevent deforestation, and unethical companies will still be able to pass their regulations and become certified as sustainable.

If you’re in the food and drink production industry, we know you have a lot to think about already. That’s why here at Klipspringer we want to help you out, providing you with the equipment you need to run a smooth production line, all while keeping to the rules and regulations in place. If you’d like to find out more, start chatting to our team today.

Posted on 20/03/2019